What if Zeus forbid Hercules to join Meg on Earth and Meg had to become a Greek god instead? That’s the premise of Go the Distance, the latest installment in the A Twisted Tale series from Disney Books written by the talented Jen Calonita.
With Hercules now a god, Zeus forbids him to return to Earth with Meg but Hera has the solution to this prickly development. Meg must go on her own quest to become a god so she can join Hercules on Mt. Olympus. Through her journey she faces a myriad of dangerous creatures to complete her three tasks, the last of which is to retrieve the soul of her ex-boyfriend’s dead wife from the Underworld. The very ex-boyfriend who abandoned her after she sold her soul to Hades for him, and the wife? That’s the girl he left Meg for. No big deal, right?
Calonita does our favorite sassy Disney heroine justice in this captivating tale that develops Meg’s backstory and her character side by side seamlessly. This is perhaps one of my favorite character development stories I’ve read in a while. Calonita forces Meg to face her insecurities and unwillingness to trust others head on in each of her tasks and Meg grows exponentially as a character throughout which is joy to read. As her tasks become harder and the stakes higher, Meg also gets a little rash with her decisions which is very relatable. We get desperate when we feel as if we are failing, and it’s this very human reaction in Meg that lets us understand she’s also on an emotional journey, not just a physical one. Calonita is able to peel back the layers of Meg’s personality and root each of them in a past experience that sheds a new light on her character. The Meg we meet at the start of the book is not the same Meg we see at the end which is exactly as it should be for a character embarking on a heroic quest.
Additionally, every element of the story from characters to settings feel authentic to the original Hercules and Ancient Greece. Meg is joined by Pegasus and Phil, much to their dismay, on her quest resulting in some hilarious moments between the three unlikely companions. Their odd trio is a great read especially as Phil and Meg go head to head with the sarcasm on more than one occasion. Meg’s story also intertwines with some well-known Greek mythological stories and other gods that add an intriguing twist readers won’t see coming. Anyone who is a fan of Greek mythology will appreciate the elements that Calonita works into the book. The story culminates with Meg’s journey to the underworld, offering readers an excellent look at the structure of the underworld which really wasn’t examined in the animated movie. Ironically, the underworld is brought to life as Meg searches for the lost soul she must save and struggles with her own past loss as well. The story wouldn’t be complete without Meg facing off with Hades and it’s a battle of wills that feels true to their characters and perfect for the gravity of Meg’s situation.
From start to finish, Go the Distance is a delightful read that will capture the imaginations of both young and adult readers, sweeping them up onto Pegasus’ back right along with Meg and flying them through Ancient Greece. I’m certain fans of Hercules will get lost in the tale as they encounter fan favorite characters along the way made unmistakable by Calonita’s ability to perfectly capture each of their personalities on the page.
Go the Distance will be available April 6 and is available for pre-order now so don’t miss out on this chance to get to know more about Meg on her quest to become a goddess! Also keep an eye out for our upcoming interview with Jen Calonita where she discusses her research process, developing Meg’s story, and her favorite parts of tacking this A Twisted Tale installment.